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United lift with Martial deal and Neymar absence

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Neymar. Photo: Charles Platiau

Neymar. Photo: Charles Platiau

Neymar. Photo: Charles Platiau

Manchester United have been handed a huge double boost with news that Anthony Martial is to sign a new four-and-a-half-year contract in the next 48 hours and that Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar has been ruled out of both legs of their Champions League round-of-16 tie through injury.

Martial has finally agreed a deal that will commit him to United until June 2024 after almost a year of talks. He would have been out of contract at the end of next season.

There has been a significant breakthrough in negotiations, which coincided with United's upturn under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Martial's key role in the attack.

United's focus will now turn to trying to secure David De Gea's long-term future.

The Spain goalkeeper is happy to stay but wants a huge increase on his £240,000-a-week (€275,000) contract, which expires at the end of next season, to offer greater parity with Chile forward Alexis Sanchez and reflect his status as the club's outstanding player over the past five years.

Solskjaer's eight-match winning streak came to an end on Tuesday when United drew 2-2 with Burnley but there was more good news for the Norwegian yesterday with PSG confirming Neymar would be out for around 10 weeks with a foot injury.

It means the world's most expensive footballer will miss the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie against United at Old Trafford on February 12, as well as the return game in Paris on March 6.

Irish Independent